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Summer is coming. Your business had a good year. You want to reward your team with a company picnic!
However, be careful. Company picnics and events can be great ways to build rapport and reward your employees. But, depending on how you plan your event, you could be exposing yourself to a host of liability issues.
Workers' compensation covers employees injuries caused by employees duties or the conditions at work. Did you know that, in some states, workers' compensation can also cover injuries incurred at company sponsored events outside of work?
A social event may be within the course of employment and covered under workers' compensation if:
Social Host Liability
What's a party without some alcohol? Just make sure that your employees don't drink too much. If your state has social host liability laws, you may be held responsible if your employees hurt themselves after drinking too much.
Harassment and Discrimination
If a company party is deemed to be "within the course and scope of employment," you may be liable for loose lips and lowered inhibitions. If an employee makes harassing or sexually inappropriate comments at a company party, you may be liable for sexual harassment.
You may also be liable for discrimination if your event is only open to certain people, such as men only, and not to the whole company or division.
Tips to Avoid Liability
Here are some tips to keep your company picnic fun and liability free:
Don't let this article discourage you from throwing the annual company picnic. Just make sure you protect yourself against liability. If you need help doing just that, talk to an employment attorney in your area.